History

The Authentic Indian Coffee Shop

05-08-2019, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India:

So what do people do to take a break from their offices? Or to meet up with friends or business associates? The answer is a coffee shop for the people of Shimla. A place for people to get together to chit-chat, discuss and debate various topics, be it political, regional, a family get together or just anything out of the box. And it’s not any other coffee or tea shop but our very own Indian Coffee House – the walls of which have seen and heard it all.

Established in 1957, the Indian Coffee House is managed by The Indian Coffee Worker’s Co-operative Society Ltd. which was formed by the then workers of the coffee board outlets who compelled the coffee board to give the handover of the various outlets handled by the Coffee Cess Committee. The Coffee Cess Committee itself was established in 1936 because of the racial discrimination done by the English rulers in numerous coffee houses across the nation by not allowing the natives to enter. Its first branch was in Mumbai (erstwhile Bombay) and eventually 50 outlets all across British India were started.

The name was changed to ‘Indian Coffee House’ after incorporation of the co-operative society. The first society was formed in Bangalore on 19th August 1957, and later on in Delhi in December 1957. An outlet was then opened near the Karori Mal College in Delhi, after which more outlets were opened in Dharamshala, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Jaipur and Allahabad. The property at Shimla was acquired and the outlet was opened on 27th October 1957. The Indian Coffee House has been a hangout spot for people of all ages ever since.

It takes five years for a person to become the member of the society and only a worker can be the member of the society. A new recruit begins his internship as a scullion and slowly progresses to eventually become an office bearer. The attire has remained the same since the British rule with a traditional turban or a Gandhi Topi/Cap on the head.

While two outlets (one on the Mall Road and the other in Kasumpti) have been serving the people, both local and tourists, for more than 60 years, a third outlet for the same has been recently opened near Dalziel hotel in Shimla. This is to cater to the huge demand for the products and services offered by the establishment. There have been no changes to the menu for as long as I can remember, except for the lunch menu that has been added some time ago. The food and the coffee are a treat not to be missed especially the cheese omelette, cutlets, vada sambhar, uthapam and the dosas in my opinion. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi couldn’t resist to stop for a cup while his visit to the state capital during the oath taking ceremony for the incumbent Chief minister Jai Ram Thakur.

Be sure to pay a visit to experience a real Indian Coffee shop, Indian Coffee House.

Indian Coffee House Special Coffee – A hint of fresh cream on top makes it such a refreshing drink; Photo: Abhinav Kaushal
Masala Dosa with the Coconut Chutney is one of the specials of the Indian Coffee House; Photo: Abhinav Kaushal
The scrumptious Uttapam of Indian Coffee House; Photo: Abhinav Kaushal
Old attires are a standard even in the present times at Indian Coffee House; Photo: Abhinav Kaushal
The Indian Coffee House outlet on the Mall Road is almost fully occupied most of the day; Photo: Abhinav Kaushal
Signs of old times and new while the waiter lists out the order details to the cashier at the Indian Coffee House Mall Road outlet; Photo: Abhinav Kaushal
The facade of the Indian Coffee House outlet on the Mall Road in Shimla has undergone very few modifications since the start of business more than 60 years ago; Photo: Abhinav Kaushal
The subtle and complete menu of the Indian Coffee House at the new outlet in Shimla; Photo: Abhinav Kaushal
The decor at the new outlet of the Indian Coffee House at Shimla is similar to the old outlets; Photo: Abhinav Kaushal

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